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Understanding task manager memory readings

Posted on 2008-10-18
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Last Modified: 2013-11-10
in a system with 2gb of RAM (or more. it does not really mater).

In Performance tab:
total memory = total RAM
in available memory, memory = RAM + VM

In Processes tab:
mem usage (Working Set) = RAM used by process (i think).

1. If I sum the processes mem usage, sometimes I get a number higher then the total RAM in the system. Why ?

2. If working set is not representing only RAM, Is there a way to calculate ONLY the RAM consumed by a process without the VM ?

3. Please explain if my understanding is incorrect.

Thanks,
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Question by:OrenRozen
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by:tbkconsulting
ID: 22748957
1. Memory available for use to a system is more than just the physical RAM in a system, it also includes the SWAP file from the Hard Drive - Windows uses this to supplement itself when memory demands are high.

2. There should be part of the view from the Task Manager that shows Page File usage (Page File = Swap File)
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by:OrenRozen
ID: 22749023
1. As I've said, available memory = RAM + VM
2. I know that PF = VM = SWAP.

What I'd like to know is if working set (mem usage in processes tab) is the phisikal memory (RAM), why when I sum the numbers at a given time it shows (sometimes) MORE the the total installed RAM.

And if working set isn't only RAM, how can I calculate ONLY the RAM used by a process (without any VM)?

Thanks,


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by:tbkconsulting
ID: 22749056
Perhaps this technet article will help - it's for windows 2000 but the same things are still there for XP and Vista as well ... --> http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb742598.aspx
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by:OrenRozen
ID: 22749141
Appreciate your help,

I know this kb and here is a link to a detailed kb:
http://www.microsoft.com/technet/prodtechnol/windows2000serv/reskit/core/fneb_mon_oyjs.mspx?mfr=true

My problem is that apparently Microsoft (in all my calculations) includes the VM as RAM.

and I want to find ONLY the RAM occupied by a process (again, without the VM).

Thanks,
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by:tbkconsulting
ID: 22749162
I think the only way to really do that is with external 3rd party programs - I'd do a search for a free/shareware program to see if I could find something.
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by:OrenRozen
ID: 22749183
wow, thanks.

regarding my Q about working set, can you tell me if it is RAM or RAM+VM?

Thanks,
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by:tbkconsulting
ID: 22749190
RAM + VM
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by:OrenRozen
ID: 23032468
After searching I've found the reason why the total sum of mem usage (working set) in task manager can get larger then the total amount of physical memory.

working set includes shared memory (pages) that other processes can use. for example:
if the total amount of memory have 10 pages and,
there are 2 processes that take 5 pages and,
every process share 1 page that the other process use.

working set = (5 + 1 for process I) + (5 + 1 for process II) = 12
in vista and server 2003 there is a new value in the task manager called working set - private that shows total physical memory NOT including shared pages.
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